So, I broke protocol a couple weeks ago when I put a post on here about a craft, and I’m doing it again… but this one isn’t a craft. For those who don’t know me well, I’m almost 2 years into making me a healthier, happier person. A year into it I wrote a note about it and a friend recently suggested that I make it public because “you never know how it could help someone”. I’m just a normal person, but if this post helps someone or inspires them to help themselves I’m all about it.
So… here it is. Published Sunday, April 24, 2011. Almost exactly a year to the date that I started.
A year. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. A year is a long time, and this week marks the week that I decided to make a change in my life. I know exactly what day it was, I know exactly what students I had that day, and I know exactly where I was when I was just DONE.
DONE feeling like crap about my body. DONE looking in the mirror and not wanting to smile at the person looking back at me. DONE making excuses for myself. DONE taking care of everything and everyone except me.
People who say, “It doesn’t matter what you look like – it’s what’s on the inside that counts,” are partially full of crap. Yes, your heart, your soul, your faith, your personality, your sense of humor… those things are all more important than how you look. Here’s the thing that gets me though: unless you’re okay with your outward appearance, it’s nearly impossible for the important stuff to shine through. Controversial? Maybe. Do I really believe that? Without question.
In a 25 minute car ride on the way home from teaching an 8:30pm piano lesson on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, I had a heart to heart with my unhappy heart. When I thought about it, my physical appearance – my weight, in specific – was making me absolutely miserable. What’s on the inside IS, in fact, most important, but the problem was that what was on my outside was making my “inside” really unhappy.
I’m not an “excuses” type of person in most aspects of my life, but when it came to taking care of myself physically, I had A LOT of excuses. My big two were: “I’ve had knee surgery two times,” and (here’s the BIG one), “I don’t have time.”
That’s a simple one: MAKE TIME! You do have time, you just have to find it. Do it for yourself.
I’m not writing this out as a “hoorah Amy!” post. I’m writing this out to encourage the people who find themselves in the same boat I found myself in a year ago. Cliché as it sounds, it’s a journey that I’m not yet finished with, but we’re getting there. I’m down almost 70 pounds and 4 or 5 sizes, but most importantly, I feel better about me.
I’ve been thinking about this day for a while, and have decided to share a few things for those looking to embark on a similar “inside out” or “outside in” journey.
1. LOOK IN THE MIRROR. Why? Because the person who is responsible is looking back at you. My weight ballooned out of control because I, no one else, was eating things I shouldn’t have been eating and not taking care of myself.
2. DECIDE. Make a decision to make a change and don’t allow yourself to look back. Take responsibility for where you’re at TODAY. Not next month, not next week, not tomorrow… TODAY. Delaying it just prolongs your unhappiness. Be like Nike and Just Do It.
3. TELL YOUR FRIENDS. The night I decided that I was going to do something about my weight I called my friend Katie and told her what I had decided. Whether or not she believed I was going to do it wasn’t that important to me. I had told someone beside myself and that was an important step in holding myself accountable.
4. TAKE BABY STEPS. I needed to lose at least 100 pounds, but that’s a pretty daunting number and it’s not something that happens quickly. Start by shedding 1 pound, then 5, then 10. Allow yourself the luxury of celebrating each small victory.
5. JOURNAL. I highly recommend keeping a food journal and writing down everything you eat. Let people read it – chances are that if people are looking at it, you’ll stay away from things that you shouldn’t be eating in the first place.
6. CHEAT. Given the comment from #5 above about things you shouldn’t be eating, you might think that I’m not in favor of cheating. Wrong! I think it’s an absolute must. What you need to do is learn to plan for the cheat. Save calories, add a work out for the week… do something to offset it. It feels good to be in control of it, and most likely whatever you choose to cheat with is something you enjoy. (I, for one, am a fan of a small mint oreo blizzard from DQ.) 🙂
7. WEIGH IN ONCE A WEEK. Not going to lie, I sometimes freak out that I ate horribly and get on the scale to see how much I gained. It does nothing for you mentally – don’t do it. I’ve seen my weight fluctuate as much as 8 pounds within a few days, but invariably by my weekly Wednesday morning weigh-in it has settled out to be in line with where I should be in comparison to the previous week. Weigh yourself once a week, same day, same time of day.
8. WORKOUT BUDDIES. My workout buddy and friend, Laura, has been an invaluable part of this process for me. The girl is in excellent shape, and she taught me how to work out. (I quite literally did not know how.) Additionally, she and her hubby (who is a tough cookie!) get an email from me every Wednesday with my weigh-in results. They’ve celebrated some big numbers with me, and have also shared my frustrations on other occasions.
9. LEARN TO TAKE A COMPLIMENT. (Side note: I cannot take a compliment to save my life.) People are going to notice, and they’re going to be nice and tell you that you look great. I still don’t know what to say… is “thanks” what you’re supposed to say? My standard response is “we’re getting there”. I had a friend of the male persuasion recently tell me that he found me attractive. It wasn’t a loaded compliment – just something he thought I should know and feel good about. Rather than say “thank you”, I promptly asked, “Why?” Don’t do that – not being able to take a compliment is actually really unattractive. (That being said, tips on compliment taking would be much appreciated – I suck at it.)
10. GET RID OF YOUR TOO-BIG CLOTHES. It feels SO good to get rid of garbage bags of things that no longer fit you. I’m at 8 so far. Donate them and don’t look back. On the same token, be budget conscious as you shop while you’re downsizing… you’ll go broke buying outfits in every size you pass through. With the exception of well-fitting bras (this is not a point of compromise in my mind), buy things that will fit for a while or that can easily be taken in. Cardigans that get too big look cute left unbuttoned with a skinny belt over top. Dresses that get too big can be cinched with a belt and a cardigan. Jeans can start taking trips through a hot washer and a dryer set on “high”. Workout clothes are supposed to be tight – buy them that way.
Anyway, those are just a couple things… I’ve learned a lot in the past year and I’ve surprised myself a lot too. I’m capable of an awful lot, and you are too. 🙂